Republicans Continue to Waste Time, Money, Energy, Our Patience on Upholding DOMA

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I mentioned very briefly in the Also.Also.Also that a federal judge in Connecticut found DOMA to be unconstitutional on Tuesday — but that won’t stop House Republicans from continuing to drop thousands of dollars on maintaining the outdated policy.

In Connecticut, U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant ruled in a case brought by six same-sex married couples and one gay widower that the Defense of Marriage Act violated the fifth amendment right to equal protection. This is the fifth consecutive ruling by a federal judge dismissing DOMA as impossible to uphold in our country with a straight face. But that doesn’t bother House Majority Whip Kevin KcCarthy, a Republican from California.

via associated press

McCarthy has been working alongside House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, both Republicans as well, to defend DOMA since the March 2011 ruling by Attorney General Eric Holder that it was unconstitutional, and could no longer be defended by the Obama administration. As of now, they’ve burned at least $742,000 on defending DOMA, all spent by hiring outside counsel on behalf of the House of Representatives. In case you haven’t put it together yet – that’s your money. And it’s being spent to stifle a national conversation on DOMA’s legality, plausibility, and implications.

The news comes in the wake of the Democratic National Committee’s decision to add same-sex marriage to its platform for the upcoming election, thus making it one of the cornerstones of their party’s work. In a statement about McCarthy’s efforts, Nancy Pelosi said “the congressional Republicans’ single-minded effort to uphold DOMA at any cost comes at great expense to the American people and rejects our nation’s heritage of equality for all.”

McCarthy recently told reporters that his personal cause to defend DOMA is based in refuting “the idea that the government … can decide, even though something’s law, what to uphold and what not to,” emphasizing that because DOMA is currently the law of the land, the House has no choice but to continue defending it. “The rule of law keeps America strong,” he added. “When you break down the rule of law, you break down society.” He said that if we want to stop upholding DOMA – and apparently stop racking up thousands of dollars through no choice of our own to defend an unconstitutional act – we “have to go through the system.”

What McCarthy is ignoring, however, is that DOMA is a federal act that has been found unconstitutional, thus giving citizens and members of congress the right to discuss its possibility and ultimate legality. What McCarthy is ignoring is that the constitution and federal law override other government policies in place, and always have, and that if DOMA violates a constitutional right it is therefore invalid itself. But what McCarthy is ultimately ignoring is that times are a-changing, and DOMA has to go.

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. Sooo…lemme sort this through. According to Republicans, upholding the Constitution is super important when it comes to denying us our rights, but when it’s used to give us rights, it’s secondary to “the law”? How convenient.


  2. “The rule of law keeps America strong,” he added. “When you break down the rule of law, you break down society.”

    Why are gay rights always something so awful that they get associated with the break down of society? If anything were going to tear down American society, I’d put greed, violence, and a whole host of other social ills on the list way ahead of things like equality and people who love each other having that recognized.

  3. If your tired of the Republicans upholding DOMA check out We are a PAC that is trying to get non-discrimination and same-sex marriage passed in Missouri. This won’t take down DOMA, but it is a step in the right direction for LGBT rights and will hopefully snowball into LGBT rights in other states. Please give us your support.

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